My Integrated Marketing Communications class writes an almost-weekly marketing communications blog. My goals are to teach the blogging medium and business writing skills. I promised to write 500 words with them every week. Here’s my first post. The topic is my favorite thing.

I assign this topic to have my students market it across the IMC spectrum. Today they’ve created a content marketing piece for it in WordPress and will personally sell their item in class. Later in the semester we will create print mock ups and prescribe the magazine choice, ad size, and location within the journal. By the end of class, we’ve fully explored all aspects of IMC in the metaphor of a small, personal object. The word of mouth is incredibly powerful.

The only rule it that the item must be portable and something they could actually sell. Handmade objects are difficult, so I advise they choose something they know intimately. I want to hear about why this object is truly a favorite thing.

20140212-130932.jpg My favorite thing, this semester, is my Julie Hewitt lipstick.

It’s not the shiny case that attracted me, although it does possess an 80s glamour. My brow artist who works wonders with my prolific eyebrows sells the Julie Hewitt line in her shop. I’ve always used my hometown brand, Aveda, because I like it’s minty-ness and sustainable packaging. In many years I’ve never thought of changing brands. I am Aveda loyal.

However…the colors change and I’ve had more than one Juut make up artist suggest a truly ugly color for me. Ugly, like coral orange. It’s not that coral is an ugly color, but with my skin tone it looks awful.

Julie Hewitt sells gorgeous blue-tinted reds and pinks. I have exactly three shades:  Femme Noir (pictured above to the left), Sin Noir (not for class) and my go to favorite, Scarlett.

Why I love this lipstick

First of all, I love color. I consider red, purple, and fuchsia almost as wardrobe neutrals. I wear brown and black, as well, but I also wear something colorful. My purses are black or bright. My hats are the same.

I often match my lipstick to what I’m wearing. My red and white herringbone “statement” jacket matches my Julie Hewitt Femme Noir lipstick perfectly. I don’t wear a lot of makeup — usually just tinted sunscreen and lipstick, maybe a little eye liner now and again.

I don’t wear much eye makeup because I have wild eyebrows. Well, they would be if I didn’t seek professional help from Brow Chic. My eyebrows are my true vanity. Having grown up in the era of Brooke Shields full brows, my almost Freda Kahlo-esque brows were very stylish in the 80s…

The unibrow is not in style. I really don’t think it ever was. Thinking positively, having full brows means my eyebrow stylist can shape them easily without requiring me to fill them in with additional color. I trust her judgement implicitly.

My stylist recommended Julie Hewitt. I was hooked ever since..

IMG_2466When the hair in your nose instantly congeals and bubbles freeze on bushes; it’s cold. “What are you doing blowing bubbles, if it’s that cold?” I hear you asking. When it is that cold, we cancel school and invent science experiments to pass the time—bubbles do freeze quickly; boiling water does not. Old timers and people with money always mention that they made it to school just fine when they were kids. “Today’s kids are too soft,” they say. “Anyone could be warm if they had a coat, mittens, long underwear, a hat, and snow pants,” I say. Lots of kids don’t have Rubbermaid buckets of seasonal clothing like I do. Maybe their parents don’t know any better, maybe they just choose other things like rent and food vs. extreme weather clothing. Let’s just agree then, that -20 Fahrenheit is cold. We all approach weather from our own perspective–no unlearning necessary here.

Twenty degrees above zero feels like a heat wave after even an hour of 20 below. Unfortunately we don’t just get an hour of -20, we get 72 hours of it. Then we start looking at records, “Back in 1977 we had 72 days of….” The stories quickly build. I was kid back then, it wasn’t that cold. Twenty degrees above zero brings old men out in shorts and teenagers skating in t-shirts. That’s ice-skating. Outside. Still, I must admit it feels great to take a deep, humid breath outside without my lungs constricting.

I know cold. I know the nuances of layering, of down vs. Polartec, of when to give in and avoid frostbite. I thought I knew heat, but I was wrong.

We never used the wondrous central air conditioning of my childhood. According to my parents it was never that warm. I always figured the light summer air felt good after a day cooped up in overly cooled medical offices. Decades later, I realized their definition of hot came from years in Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. They were Northerners, but time in the South colored their perception.

Mine too.

It took decades for me to learn the difference between very warm and hot because that’s when I moved to The South. Eighty degrees where I live today, is sweltering. Air conditioners drone abysmally in July and August. Schools close to prevent heat exhaustion. Four summers in Chapel Hill, North Carolina taught me the rough differences between the simple warmth of 85, the invitation to swim of 92, and the hell of 98 and humid. I needed more time to develop the finesse of knowing when school would close due to the threat of snow, but I was tired of melting.

My neighbors today–those tough Northerners who embrace epic wind chills shake their heads in confusion at my open windows all summer long. I hate air conditioning. I still don’t go swimming unless it’s 92. It’s got to be at least very warm before I risk a toe in an outdoor pool.

Weather, like politics is contextual. Until you change your latitude, to quote Jimmy Buffet, you can’t unlearn your sense of hot and cold.

This essay was written for Cathy Davidson’s Coursera course, History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education. And it was due an hour ago…

Butterflies descend from my ceiling, my drapery wires, on the woodwork, and from my indoor Norfolk Pine tree? Why? It’s too cold for a Minnesotan like me to go outside. If it were 70 and sunny everyday, my office would still be half painted, the butterflies would still be in their boxes, and my creative strategy syllabus would be farther from completion.

Extreme winters make us creative.

1.  We’ll hear some amazing music over the next few months as Minnesotan musicians get creative with the cold. See today’s local Current blog for a complete list.

IMG_23522. My office is gorgeous now.

3. Pasta Fazool, Pulled Pork (North Carolina style), Tomato Bisque soup, and Cream of (Minnesota) Wild Rice soup for the spontaneous neighborhood potluck. I can’t remember the last time I cooked anything that required 4+ hours of stock simmering.

4. Rotating hordes of school kids building forts in each other’s living rooms. All my massive dictionaries make wonderful blanket weights, after all.

5. Freezing stuff —  bubble bushes and ice globes.

Photo courtesy of Mary Kate Boylan

Photo courtesy of Mary Kate Boylan

6. Minnesotans always, always, always will have something non-political to talk about.

7. Every Christmas present is thoroughly played with. Every board game’s rules rewritten.

8. An extraordinary vocabulary to describe one simple word:  cold.

9. October 2014 babies. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

10. Emerald Ash Borer, R.I.P.

Now that you’re ready to move to Minnesota and be creative, you need to know these 10 tips from @mplsgossipgirl

10 Reasons Why -22 Degrees is Not That Cold When You Are a True Minnesotan

It’s cold out there today. Really cold. Like -22 degrees and it feels like -45 with the windchill.

If you are a true Minnesotan you go outside and think, Oh, this really isn’t that bad. It’s cold, but it could be worse.

There are a few reasons why we stay here when it is this cold outside.  We are smart enough to figure out how to keep warm in this polar vortex.

10 Reasons Why -22 Degrees is Not That Cold When You Are a True Minnesotan:

1. You own all the proper winter weather gear. This may include a parka,mukluks, a hat with ear flaps, and proper mittens. You don’ t care what you look like because at least you are warm.

2. You own at least 3 pairs of long underwear. Yes, you may look a little bit puffy today at work but your bum is nice and toasty.

3. You have a space heater at your desk. Did your feet get cold on your way into work? That is not a problem because when you get to work you can put them right in front of your space heater.

4. Almost everyone knows how to jump a car or knows someone who can jump their car and can do it in 2 minutes. We carry around the tools to get our cars started no matter where we are because it is the smart thing to do.

5. We all own at least 40 blankets. One of them is heated so that if it gets really cold we can plug it in and be nice and toasty when we sleep.

6. If you have something warm to drink it makes you think that you are really warm. We all have supplies of hot coco, tea, and coffee to make when it gets frigid. Your mom also used to put in those little marshmallows when you were younger.

7. When there are days like this we have a supply of movies, games, and indoor activities that keep us occupied for many hours. Plus, we may even get to sleep in.

8. We all know alternative (less safe) ways to heat our homes by using space heaters, cooking something in your oven, and lighting candles. You usually end up with a hot dish or a pot roast, it’s a win/win.

9. It gives us an excuse to cuddle up with those people you love. Body heat helps.

10. We know it’s not THAT cold because it could always be worse. It could be -40 degrees and it feels like -70 and it snowed 3 feet overnight and then it sleeted for that very brief warm up. IT CAN ALWAYS BE WORSE.

Lets be honest, we love it here in Minnesota, even when it is colder than Antarctica which is only at -11 degrees today.  We stay because of the people, the culture, the food, the community, and because summer is amazing here.

because I am a true Minnesotan


Sara Geneva Noreau Kerr:

Great new show from some lovely local photographers. I wish I could have attended the opening, but I know I’ll get there this week!

Road trip anyone?!

Originally posted on Travel Snapshots:


Highway 61: Minneapolis to Memphis opened on day 347 of Photo 365. The exhibit focused on the starkness, beauty, nostalgia and people along the great highway. Viewing a collection of Americana was a terrific way to spend a Friday evening.

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